Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bike Racing 8/11/6

Yeah. So I haven’t been blogging much. Because I haven’t been racing much. And... my two races since my last blog both deserved only short, short stories: Raced an Alpenrose Thursday and lost, but should have at least been helping Molly to a win whilst losing myself; but no, she lost, too. After that I was suddenly hurting (my right hip… sciatica?) but nevertheless was racing that Sunday’s Vancouver Courthouse Criterium (and losing again). So now we’re up to date, mkay?

Tonight was the Health Net Criterium. Really, I had no business racing this race. It’s too damn fast, or so I hear. Also, I’ve been tired and racing like doodoo and peepee. Q: But how often do I get to race around downtown Portland with that many people watching? A: never, ‘sept for tonight. So I paid the $25 and jumped in.

So, as for the too damn fast… I still don’t know. I had only just begun when I found myself on the wrong side of a gap that looked to become a split, so I was trying to work my way up and across, but then found my stupid ass in the wrong place at the wrong time on the hardest, tightest turn in the race (the left at the bottom of the hill with the grate and the bumps) and had to make a quick emergency adjustment as the rider in front of me unexpectedly tightened up his turn. This adjustment, combined with the evil white bump, turned into a sideways 30mph hop, which turned into a two-wheel skid, which turned into a rear-tire blowout, which turned into an uncontrolled slide, which turned into an impact with the outside curb, which turned into (and I have no idea how) me running down the sidewalk in my Speedplay-cleated carbon-soled road shoes… with my presumably mangled Lapierre discarded behind me. I am told “nice save!” by a spectator who (among others) I’ve somehow avoided killing. I then go about realizing that my bike is okay, save for the demolished back wheel. I run. I run, bike on shoulder, to the pit, which is only 30 yards downstream. I get a neutral wheel. I wait… whilst being held by my new wrench (ahem, technician), and whilst being totally prepared to DO THIS… for the pack to come ‘round again. They come. I ride. The wheel feels weird. I get back on. I come full-circle back to my new favorite corner to find that my rear brake is not getting along very well with my new rear rim. I freak and brake myself back off the back. I hit the pit again. The mechanic diagnoses the problem: it’s fine, the brake is just missing the braking surface and grabbing the rim instead. Okay, I’ll deal. I get back in, this time without another free lap, and start chasing back on. I again hit the bottom of the hill once, twice, three times a maybe. As in “maybe I’ll die if I keep trying to ride this course at this speed without a functional rear brake.” I quit.

So, what about the crash? Well, crash-ish thing, anyways. I’m not at all disappointed that my incident can only be dubiously described as a ‘crash’. Did I crash? Dunno. All I know is that for a moment I thought I was a dead man, but then somehow found myself trying (in vain) to jump back into the race like I was still a bike racer or sumthin. My wheel is done. It would take only a quick sideways glance in a darkened alleyway to see that much. The rest is all a pleasant surprise. My bike is fine. And I’m here, in my flat, with Steve (my cat) on my lap, typing this bullsh!t as if nothing life-threatening even happened…

… and I’ll take it! Really, this “result” is a gift (Did Not Finish But Can Still Walk). Really, I f**ked up BAD and deserve far worse. And I can’t believe I didn’t take anybody out with me on my way down. I’s got a guardian angel or somefin’. The worst part, which I for some reason never worried about when worrying about crashing: it’s embarrassing. I’ve never crashed before (on the road) with it being completely my fault. I feel like a hack. Oh well, I’m just glad I didn’t take anybody out.


Blogger Mark Blackwelder said...

I just downloaded my powertap. I had been racing for only 4:39 and was going 32mph when I lost it.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Quenton said...

WoW!! At least you raced it. $25 for that crit seems like a steal of a deal... except for the having to get a new wheel. Next year....

11:53 PM  

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